Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Rigors (and rewards) of Gate Guarding Revisited

Sometimes I overestimate the reach of this blog. However smarmy it may sound, I truly hope that some of the things I espouse and write about get noticed: and hopefully inform and help others. That is the main reason I publish this blog. Having said that, I would hope that my dear readers feel free to cut and paste (or spread by any means) anything they find helpful and informative.
Before I get into what has gotten my interest peaked; let me say that my information is just as much anecdotal as factual. In most cases I wasn't there, nor did I experience some of the things the folks I am writing about did.
I have tried to, as factually as possible, describe the opportunity that gate guarding provides. Along the way I have written several blogs (and an untold number of postings) about both the good and bad it entails. At the risk of repeating myself, let me try to make some things clear. Gate guarding is not for everyone; however obvious that may sound. Until recently, most opportunities required a couple to park on a usually remote gate and one of them to be there 24 hours a day. So; hurdle one is - are you an RV'er and can you stand to live in close quarters with someone for an extended period of time? Another direct facet of this is the guards mechanical ability and knowledge of their rig(s). Finding a honest, knowledgeable and reliable RV mechanic in the oil patch is very difficult. The best way I can describe preparing your RV for the rigors of gate guarding is to treat it like you were going on an expedition to some remote outpost. All the basics need to be covered. Strong and fresh batteries, recently replaced and/or checked belts, hoses and tires along with a thorough and complete PM (oil change, lube and fluid top off). While I'm discussing preparation, you should have some cash and plenty of potable water with you. Also, try to find the time and wherewithal to get to the closest Walmart or grocery store and stock up. If that hasn't dissuaded you, let me now prepare you for what you may encounter. Bugs of every type and size imaginable will eventually get into every nook and cranny of your rig. Even though we just broke a historic drought, dust will be your constant companion; also finding its way into every nook and cranny of your rig. And; even though a lot of the patch is in a desert clime, it can and does rain. The resulting mud and muck can be debilitating. Just when you thought you were in the desert southwest, you can encounter sleet and freezing precipitation. The inclement weather seems to have the uncanny ability to strike at the most inopportune moments, trying both your patience and willpower. Depending on the security company you sign up with, you may and probably will get some crappy assignments at first. Short term and remote may be the order of the day. Even after years out here we occasionally get a zinger of a gate which tests our meddle. Overall, I have to say we have been rewarded with some plum assignments as our experience has grown.

As much as I and others have tried to forewarn candidates about the rigors and rewards of gate guarding, we still get folks who can't hack it. We have had candidates simply disappear in the rear view mirror of their escort as they headed for a gate. We have had folks simply drive off and abandon a gate. There have even been excuses as inane as not being able to cope with the mud and/or mosquitoes; or the infamous guard who asked to be moved or relieved in hopes of getting better cell phone or satellite reception. I implore you to give it at least a day or two and think things over. Give your security company the opportunity to find and get a replacement in place. Remember, if the room and environment allow, the departing guard should be off the pad and ready to depart when his or her replacement arrives. It has been our experience that very few opportunities exist for fulltimers that pay as well as gate guarding. Whenever we find our motivation or desire lacking, we think about the money. It's as simple as that.

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